CADAVERGATE - UCLA trafficking in human body parts

  • Thread starter Dr. Jai Maharaj
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Dr. Jai Maharaj

Two held in UCLA cadaver scandal

BBC Monday, March 8, 2004

Two men have been arrested in Los Angeles for allegedly
stealing and selling corpses donated for research at a top
US medical school.

Ernest Nelson, 46, is quoted by the Los Angeles Times as
saying he took bodies from the university, UCLA, with the
full knowledge of staff there.

Henry Reid, 54, head of UCLA's willed-body programme, was
also arrested.

UCLA apologised for the unauthorised sale of body parts, but
denied top bosses knew about the arrangement.

[Caption] The body parts were for use in medical training
and research

Mr Nelson has been quoted by the Los Angeles Times as saying
that he went to UCLA's body freezer at the medical school
twice a week for six years - cutting up around 800 bodies.

He collected knees, hands, torsos and other body parts
needed for his corporate clients, the paper quoted him
as saying.


He claimed he had followed a protocol that was set out by Mr
Reid, and was known to other UCLA officials.

"I call one of the most prestigious universities in the
world, their director gives me the protocol, I follow that
protocol and they charge me with receiving stolen body
parts?" he was quoted as saying in the Times.

"Any illegal commercialisation would violate the trust of
donors, families and UCLA. We are deeply sorry"
- Gerald Levey Dean of UCLA's medical school

"If I wasn't supposed to be there, why couldn't they tell me
that? It was not done in secret," he reportedly said.

He was arrested by police on Sunday on suspicion of
receiving stolen body parts and selling them on to research

Mr Reid was detained a day earlier for allegedly selling the
corpses and body parts for profit. He was released from jail
after posting $20,000 bail.

At a press conference, UCLA officials said they were trying
to track down all the body parts sold to Mr Nelson, and to
make sure they were used for medical research at the private

"The ongoing investigation will focus on verifying that,"
said Gerald Levey, dean of the David Geffen School of
Medicine at UCLA.

"Nonetheless, any illegal commercialisation would have
violated the trust of the donors, the families and UCLA. We
are deeply sorry."

They denied Mr Nelson's claims that the university's top
officials were familiar with his arrangement, and also
disputed the number of bodies he says he cut up.

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